September 2009

For me, three days is the perfect length for a weekend.  A luxury to be sure, but practical as well.

Work is typically all-consuming for me when I’m there.  I really don’t have time for the occasional personal call or a check in with my facebook page at lunch.  My day is longer than most.  I try to fool myself that coming in really early doesn’t take anything away from my non-work life.  My husband would argue that I often can’t slip out of that work mode even after I get home either.   So, four days of flat-out work seem like the perfect recipe for me.

It takes me three days to really relax and rejuvenate.    It’s not that I don’t get relaxed until the third day.  One a three day weekend, I relax almost immediately.  Just the knowledge of three full days allows me to relax from the very beginning.  To put the work issues out of my mind.  Ahhh.

This was a three day weekend for me.  I was able to do everything that I wanted to do to make me smile:  picnic.  see a movie.  blog.  get a pedicure.  read.  go out to lunch.  barbeque.  make pesto.  entertain.  go for a country drive.  Sunday Drive And it still gave me the time to do the things that I need to do (but don’t make me smile quite so much).

Could a four day work week ever be a reality?  Should I feel slothful in wanting three days to unwind?  The incredible increase in productivity that has transpired over the past 100 years is surely to blame for the need.  Yet, God only rested one day after creating the entire world.  I think that’s pretty good productivity.

Who knows… maybe my next career…

One weekend while living in Mexico, we headed off to Santa Clara del Cobre.  Saint Clare of the Copper.  It’s located in Michoacan and we chose it as our destination in late September, at the end of the rainy season.

The hills were a lush green and almost tropical in nature, with cascading Bougainvillea everywhere.  The perfect time to visit.

And, as one might expect, 2000_1111_112824AAcopper for sale everywhere.  Anything you can imagine being made of copper was crafted here.  We came home with a car full of copper pans, which hang in our kitchen still (admittedly, we enjoy looking at them more than cooking with them).

But the most vivid memory of the town was in our approach to it.  We were driving down an ancient cobble stone road.  Rough and uneven.  Slow going, even as the only car on the road.  But as we got closer to the town, we noticed an old man sitting by the side of the road in a hard backed chair.  Getting closer still, the thick rope of chain across the road becomes visible.

As we pulled up to the chain, the old man got up to greet us…   and to collect his one peso toll for letting us through.

I am a real fan of salad bars.  I love choices.   The thrill of discovering water chestnuts.  The disappointment of no garbanzo beans.

I prefer to check out all of my options P9121654before I make my choices.   Some might say that I am too choosy.  I remember my boss observing me with amazement (unbeknownst to me) as I agonized over choosing just the right cherry tomato.  Getting the perfect balance of ingredients in the salad is an art.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get a preview of our options in life before making choices?   Think of all the time we could save.  All the mistakes we could avoid.

But maybe it’s a good thing that we can’t always know what lies ahead for us.  Disappointments would be unavoidable.  Surprises would be non-existent.  Salad bars will have to suffice.

There are so many interesting place in the world that I want to experience.  pSome of them I’ve seen before and some not.  It’s quite a dilemma for me…  to return to places that I love, or to visit new places that I’ve never seen?

Not an uncommon quandary, I’m sure.  Some people probably struggle with the choice of visiting their favorite restaurant week after week versus trying something new.  For me, it’s the choice between spending more time in a place I love, or using the time to explore a new place entirely.

It would be sad to think I’d never return to Tuscany, for example.  Or to see the Alhambra again.  Yet, there are new place to see:  Buenos Aires, Kenya, Prague.

100_1339It reminds me of the feeling that I get in a wonderful bookstore…  There is so much to read.  So much to learn. So many worlds to escape to.  How will I ever get to it all?  Sometimes a bookstore can be overwhelming to me.

Louis Armstrong’s “Wonderful World” is an uplifting, grateful song to many.  The sobering part for me is:  “I hear babies crying, I watch them grow .  They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know”.   I don’t want the next generation to know more than me.  I want to know it all.

But I digress.   I want to learn more.  I want to see more.  I want to travel more.  I want to experience more.  But I don’t want to give up the “known” things that I love.   I’m going to have to learn to live with that.

Meditation has an exotic ring to it.  P6241477

In reality, it’s just being still enough to listen to yourself.  As I attempt to master meditation, I appreciate the approval to accept thoughts that move through your mind when you are trying hardest to clear your mind.  We are encouraged to acknowledge those thoughts; to be an observer of those thoughts; and then return “back to center.”

A definition of meditation describes is as this:

Different meditative disciplines encompass a wide range of spiritual or psychophysical practices that may emphasize different goals—from achievement of a higher state of consciousness, to greater focus, creativity or self-awareness, or simply a more relaxed and peaceful frame of mind.

As we learn to be introspective, we are encouraged to listen to our breath.  It is one thing that is constant and that grounds us in our own being.  Being absorbed in your breath is a meditation in itself.  Return to the breath.

Our whole lives are spent learning to interact with the world around us.  Very little attention is given to the world within us.  I suspect that it will take me a long time to fully grasp meditation.  To become good at it.  To be at ease with it.  To sink quickly into self-awareness.  Instant peacefulness…